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Amilcar Cabral, the Theory as a Weapon of the Oppressed and Africa’s Predicament Today

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Abstract

This chapter seeks to contribute to efforts in search of a fundamental transformation of a euromodern political economy that normalizes inequality and hierarchy as universal logics. A critical part of this is to break bread with the neglected and silenced revolutionary and radical thought born of the terrible predicament that this political economy imposes upon the global South and Africa, in particular. This is because we must move from demanding decolonial paradigm shifts to demonstrating the value of thought outside Eurocentrism in what Lewis R. Gordon calls shifting the geography of reason. At very fundamental level the political economy we refer to is essentially a product of thought, of reason, and logics associated with the rise of euromodernity from the late fifteenth century. This chapter distils from Cabral’s Weapon of Theory essay critical of Afro-decolonial theses on the political-economic predicament in Africa today in the hope that this transcends the dead-ends that mark dominant paradigms on African political economy.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Adedeji, Adebayo and Senghor, Jeggan Colley. 1989. Towards a Dynamic African Economy: Selected Speeches and Lectures 1975–1986. London: Routledge, 15–38, p. 15.

  2. 2.

    Grosfoguel, R. 2009. A Decolonial Approach to Political-Economy: Transmodernity, Border Thinking and Global Coloniality. Kult-Special Issue: Epistemological Transformation, Fall: 10–37.

  3. 3.

    Gordon, Lewis R. 2011. “Shifting the Geography of Reason in the Age of Disciplinary Decadence.” Transmodernity, Fall, 95–103.

  4. 4.

    Cabral, A. 1966. Weapon of Theory: Address delivered to the first Tricontinental Conference of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America held in Havana in January. https://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/cabral/1966/weapon-theory.htm (accessed 23 August 2018).

  5. 5.

    Mazrui, Ali, 1979. The African Condition Reith Lectures: Lecture 1—The Garden of Eden in Decay. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes. Accessed 2 February 2016.

  6. 6.

    Cessaire, Aime, 1972. Discourse on Colonialism, New York: Monthly Review.

  7. 7.

    Mignolo Walter, 2009. Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and the De-Colonial Freedom, Theory, Culture & Society, 26(7–8): 1–23.

  8. 8.

    Ogbeidi, M. 2012. Political Leadership and Corruption in Nigeria Since 1960: A Socio-economic Analysis. Journal of Nigeria Studies, 1 (2) 1–25; Mwangi, O.G. 2008. “Political Corruption, Party Financing and Democracy in Kenya.” Journal of Modern African Studies, 46(2) 267–285.

  9. 9.

    Rodney, Walter, 1972. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers Ltd.

  10. 10.

    Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo, Coloniality of Power in Postcolonial Africa: Myths of Decolonization (Dakar, CODESRIA, 2013).

  11. 11.

    Scott, James C. 1986. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press.

  12. 12.

    Scott, Weapons of the Weak, p. xv.

  13. 13.

    Nzongola-Ntalanja Georges, 1987. Revolution and counter-revolution in Africa. London: Zed Books.

  14. 14.

    Scott, Weapons of the Weak, p. 38.

  15. 15.

    Mafeje, Archie, 2011. A Combative Ontology, In Devisch, R. and Nyamnjoh, F.B. (eds.). Postcolonial Turn: Imagining Anthropology and Africa, Bamenda and Leiden: Langaa, pp. 31–41.

  16. 16.

    Fanon, Frantz, 1965. A Dying Colonialism, New York: Grove Press, p. 65.

  17. 17.

    de Andrade, Mario, 1979, Biographical Notes, in Cabral, Amilcar, 1979. Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings, New York: Monthly Review, p. xxvi.

  18. 18.

    Davidson, Basil, 1984. On Revolutionary Nationalism: The Legacy of Cabral, Latin American Perspectives, 2 (41), pp. 15–42.

  19. 19.

    Cabral, Unity and Struggle.

  20. 20.

    de Braganca, Aquino; Wallerstein, Immanuel, 1982. The African Liberation Reader, 3 Volumes, Vol 3, London: Zed Press, pp. 3–6.

  21. 21.

    Cabral, Weapon of Theory, no page numbers.

  22. 22.

    Wynter, Sylvia, 1976. Ethno or Socio Poetics. In Benamou, M. and Rothenberg, J. Ethnopoetics: a first international symposium, Boston: Boston University: 78–94, p. 82.

  23. 23.

    Wynter, Ethno or Socio Poetics, p. 83.

  24. 24.

    Du Bois, W.E.B. 1903. The Souls of Black Folks. New York: Start Publishing.

  25. 25.

    Cabral, Weapon of Theory.

  26. 26.

    Cabral, Weapon of Theory.

  27. 27.

    Cabral, Weapon of Theory.

  28. 28.

    Adedeji and Senghor, Towards a Dynamic African Economy, pp. 20–21.

  29. 29.

    Adedeji and Senghor, Towards a Dynamic African Economy, p. 37.

  30. 30.

    Paulin Hountondji, ed., 1997. Endogenous Knowledge: research trails. Dakar: CODESRIA Books.

  31. 31.

    Cabral, A. 1979. Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings, Translated by Michael Wolfers, New York: Monthly Review, pp. xxiv–v.

  32. 32.

    Cabral, Unity and Struggle, p. xxv.

  33. 33.

    Cabral, Unity and Struggle, p. xxvi.

  34. 34.

    Poems published in the A Illa newspaper on 22 July 1946 are reprinted in Cabral, Unity and Struggle, p. 4.

  35. 35.

    Cabral, Unity and Struggle, p. 22.

  36. 36.

    Cabral, Unity and Struggle, p. 45.

  37. 37.

    This is the essence of the message of “Party Principles and Political Practice,” in Cabral, Unity and Struggle, pp. 30–55.

References

  • Adedeji, Adebayo, and Jeggan Colley Senghor. 1989. Towards a Dynamic African Economy: Selected Speeches and Lectures 1975–1986, 15–38. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cabral, A. 1966. Weapon of Theory: Address Delivered to the First Tricontinental Conference of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America held in Havana in January. https://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/cabral/1966/weapon-theory.htm. Accessed 23 Aug 2018.

  • Cesaire, Aime. 1972. Discourse on Colonialism. New York: Monthly Review.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davidson, Basil. 1984. On Revolutionary Nationalism: The Legacy of Cabral. Latin American Perspectives 2 (41): 15–42.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • de Andrade, Mario. 1979. Biographical Notes. In Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings, ed. Amilcar Cabral. New York: Monthly Review.

    Google Scholar 

  • de Braganca, Aquino, and Immanuel Wallerstein. 1982. The African Liberation Reader, 3 Volumes. Vol. 3. London: Zed Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Du Bois, W.E.B. 1903. The Souls of Black Folks. New York: Start Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fanon, Frantz. 1965. A Dying Colonialism. New York: Grove Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gordon, Lewis R. 2011. ‘Shifting the Geography of Reason in the Age of Disciplinary Decadence’. Transmodernity, Fall, pp. 95-103.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grosfoguel, R. 2009. A Decolonial Approach to Political-Economy: Transmodernity, Border Thinking and Global Coloniality. Kult-Special Issue: Epistemological Transformation (Fall): 10–37.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mafeje, Archie. 2011. A Combative Ontology. In Postcolonial Turn: Imagining Anthropology and Africa, ed. R. Devisch and F.B. Nyamnjoh, 31–41. Bamenda/Leiden: Langaa Research and Publishing/African Studies Centre.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Mazrui, Ali. 1979. The African Condition Reith Lectures: Lecture 1—The Garden of Eden in Decay. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes. Accessed 2 Feb 2016.

  • Mignolo, Walter. 2009. Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and the De-Colonial Freedom. Theory, Culture & Society 26 (7–8): 1–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mwangi, O.G. 2008. Political Corruption, Party Financing and Democracy in Kenya. Journal of Modern African Studies 46 (2): 267–285.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo. 2013. Coloniality of Power in Postcolonial Africa: Myths of Decolonization. Dakar: CODESRIA Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nzongola-Ntalanja, Georges. 1987. Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Africa. London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ogbeidi, M. 2012. Political Leadership and Corruption in Nigeria Since 1960: A Socio-economic Analysis. Journal of Nigeria Studies 1 (2): 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Paulin, Hountondji, ed. 1997. Endogenous Knowledge: Research trails. Dakar: CODESRIA Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rodney, Walter. 1972. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers Ltd..

    Google Scholar 

  • Scott, James C. 1986. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wynter, Sylvia. 1976. Ethno or Socio Poetics. In Ethnopoetics: A First International Symposium, ed. M. Benamou and J. Rothenberg, 78–94. Boston: Boston University.

    Google Scholar 

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Zondi, S. (2020). Amilcar Cabral, the Theory as a Weapon of the Oppressed and Africa’s Predicament Today. In: Oloruntoba, S., Falola, T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy. Palgrave Handbooks in IPE. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38922-2_13

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